Sydney, 9 October 2006
Urgent support required to secure sanctuary zones in Batemans Marine Park
ACT BY 12 OCTOBER 2006
The NSW Government is currently taking public comments on the Zoning Plan for the Batemans Marine Park. The proposed Marine Park includes critical habitats and breeding sites for the critically endangered grey nurse shark. The Marine Park, which includes important seagrass meadows, extensive saltmarsh wetlands and oceanic islands, is also home to threatened species such as the estuary cod and little terns. Montague Island in this Marine Park is also one of the most important breeding sites for sea birds and the second largest breeding area in Australia for little penguins.
While governments seek a balance between all stakeholder interests in zoning a marine park, protection for important grey nurse habitat sites cannot be compromised if the grey nurse shark is to avoid extinction in NSW. The current zoning plan offers inadequate protection for key grey nurse habitats at Montague Island, Tollgate Islands and Brush Island. Despite being critically endangered, sanctuary zones that would offer protection for grey nurse sharks are being fiercely opposed by anti-marine park activists. Your submissions are critically important to secure protection for these magnificent animals.
View the draft zoning plan at www.mpa.nsw.gov.au
Further information and online submission forms can be found at www.marine.org.au/batemans_subform.htm
Alternatively, send a submission to:
The Planning Officer
Batemans Marine Park
PO Box 341, Narooma NSW 2546
Before filling out your submission form check the submission guide available from the Nature Conservation Council of NSW at www.nccnsw.org.au/marinesanctuaries
The deadline for submissions is 15th October 2006.
Please send copies of your submissions to:
The Hon. Morris Iemma
Premier, Parliament House
Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000
The Hon. Bob Debus MP
Minister for the Environment
Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000
Key points to make in your submission:
Congratulate the proclamation of this new Marine Park and the sanctuary zones covering some of the grey nurse critical habitat sites.
- However, express concern that some key habitats and breeding areas for the grey nurse shark remain inadequately protected in the current zoning plan. The Government has independent advice that all grey nurse shark sites need to be surrounded by sanctuary zones out to a 1500m radius.
- In particular, request that Montague Island, the Tollgates and Brush Island be protected by extensive Sanctuary Zones to fully protect the grey nurse sharks that aggregate there.
- Beaches, deep water and seagrasses such as Posidonia and Ruppia are under-represented in the Government's draft zoning plan, and substantially more of these habitats need to be protected in Sanctuaries.
Destructive fishing techniques such as trawling, beach hauling and mesh netting need to be substantially reduced or prohibited in the Park.
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